New tourism act to boost small firms


Small business operators can soon look forward to a new Tourism Development Act that would include benefits for them.
This assurance has come from Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy. He was speaking to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY during a meeting of stakeholders at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Wednesday.
“I hope to have something to take to Parliament that is very much consistent with what this Government has committed itself to do, and that is broadening the stakeholdership and having more people feel that they are a part of this sector,” he said.
“This is a road that we visited only a few years ago so we want to make sure we get it right.
“So the whole question of entrepreneurship and what we can do to develop more entrepreneurs. . . . Even if it does not speak directly with them because we can’t start to identify everyone, we have to have an Act that is constructed with them in mind and how they can participate and be encouraged along,” Sealy said.
However, the Act had proven to be challenging in some areas.
“There is the issue of furniture and how you treat locally produced furniture versus imported products, and one of the things that we are looking at is the level of incentives entities are entitled to.
“We are looking at how best we can encourage more local input and tie in your incentives on that basis.”
According to the minister, “There is also the issue of the accommodation sector and how you define it. Under the present legislation, if you buy a condominium or villa and put it in a rental pool for at least nine months, it is considered accommodation and entitled to all the incentives and so on that hotels get, but that has proven almost impossible to police.
“If you look at the direction that the accommodation plants are going in, people are developing condominiums, nobody is building hotels, so we need to look at that as well.” (MM)


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